Kohinoor was gifted to Britain, government tells SC

New Delhi, April 18 (IANS) The central government on Monday told the Supreme Court that the British East India Company did not take away the Kohinoor diamond but it was gifted to Britain by Sikh monarch Maharaja Duleep Singh.

The government stand on the matter was conveyed to the bench of Chief Justice T.S. Thakur and Justice Uday Umesh Lalit in response to a public interest litigation by NGO, All India Human Rights and Social Justice Forum, seeking directions to the government to make efforts for getting the diamond back to India.

The court, while giving the government six more weeks, said that if it accepted the government position and dismissed the PIL, all future avenues for staking any legitimate claim over the diamond will be shut.

The court gave time, as Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar told it that the stand being placed before it was that of the cultural affairs ministry but the “ministry of external affairs is also a party and their response is yet to come”.

The 108-carat diamond was presented to the then British monarch, Queen Victoria, in 1850 after the Anglo-Sikh wars, in which Britain gained control over the Sikh empire in the then undivided Punjab.

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